Sunday, July 08, 2007

Brought to Book

I've always been a great one for writing things down. Even before I developed Marshmallow Brain, I had a diary full of lists that had to be ticked off, and strange entries like "Water filter will need changing today". I also had a journal and, separate from that, a notebook for my creative writing. This was all, of course, before I had a decent computer and could store it all on that.

What I haven't computerised (apart from yearly lists of items and garments I have completed, and to whom they've been given) is my series of knitting notebooks. I currently have three, although I considering merging them all into one, in the interests of saving my muscles. I know I would get through notebooks three times as quickly, but at least I'd only have one to drag out every time I wanted to put something in it.

The first one is my knitting journal. At the moment, this is a rather fetching suede-covered notebook, courtesy of eBay. I'm not one to keep ball bands, samples of yarn, or tension squares but I do copy out all the information along with what tension I got, an overview of the whole project, and any problems I met along the way. I also record start and finish dates, and the eventual recipient.

The second one is my design notebook. At the moment, I'm using a Cath Tate spiral-bound A5 affair. The covers are printed with close-up photos of fair isle, and the front cover also has a delightful old-fashioned photo of small child, swathed in many knitting garments, with the caption: "Life would be so much nicer if my mother would only stop knitting", which makes me giggle every time I look at it. This contains sketches of potential designs, schematics, inspirational postcards, and the like.

Finally I have my Useful Bits-and-Bobs notebook, where I jot down stitch patterns of which I like the look, handy little wrinkles that I've worked out myself, and information to which I need frequently to refer, like measurements for each of the sizes I knit. I have a particularly groovy book for this one - a type I have just discovered at Ecotopia - which uses recycled carrier bags for the covers. Some of the pieces are still recognisable (there's a large chunk of a Tesco bag on the front), but I am desperate to find out who provides leopard-print carrier bags. There's just a sliver of one on the back. (They also make book covers from juice cartons, circuit boards, and tyres.) This one has all sorts of peculiar little snippets of information in it, and I thought it was about time I started to share them...

Pompoms, for example, seem to have come back into fashion recently, but I've always been a bit hit-and-miss with my sizes. I discovered that there are actual rules: the outer circumference of the cardboard ring should be a little larger than the desired size. The diameter of the hole should be between a third and a half of the total diameter. The larger the hole, the more tightly packed will be the finished pompom.

Alternatively, of course, you can do what I did the last time I made pompoms and buy one of those nifty plastic pompom makers. They are amazing. You get pompoms in about a minute :)

Oh, and I might occasionally post items from my Commonplace Book, where I keep all my favourite quotations. I have a section at the back called "English As She Is Spoke", which is home to all the bludgeonings of our mother tongue which I've encountered, usually on TV or radio. For example, on this week's 8 Out Of 10 Cats:
Sean Lock: It was a case of mistaken identity.
Trisha Goddard: Why?
Sean Lock: Because he thought I was somebody else!
If I tell you that Richard and I laughed at that until we wept, it'll give you a good idea of how bad a sense of humour we share :)

Tigger says, "I wish they wouldn't laugh so much; it's very disturbing."